Legal & Regulatory

India Regulatory Brief: Filing GST Returns, Aadhaar Mandatory for Banking and Financial Transactions

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Relaxation in filing GST returns till September 2017

The GST Council meeting on June 18, 2017 delivered key resolutions ahead of the GST launch at midnight of June 30. The Council opted for a relaxation in return filing until September, meaning no late fees or penalties will be levied in the interim period.

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India Regulatory Brief: FIPB Abolished, Pending Transition Rules and GST Rates Approved

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FIPB formally abolished by federal government

On May 24, the Union Cabinet finalized the end of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Introduced as a foreign direct investment (FDI) reform in the Union Budget for 2017-18, scrapping the FIPB will ease greater foreign investments inflows by reducing bureaucratic transactions.

The FIPB was an inter-ministerial body under the Department of Economic Affairs in the finance ministry. It was responsible for processing and recommending FDI proposals if the investment amount exceeded US$466.27 million (Rs 3,000 crore).

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Port Infrastructure in India: Government Incentives for Investment

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By Vasundhara Rastogi

India’s geographical location is central to key international trade routes across the Indian Ocean between Europe and Asia. This offers India a great opportunity to grow into a maritime hub.

India has a long coastline of over 7,500 km, which houses its 12 major ports and about 200 non-major ports. These ports serve as the country’s gateways to global trade, and cater to about 95 percent of India’s total foreign trade (by volume).

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IPR in India: Laws and Procedures for Registration

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By Vasundhara Rastogi

Protecting and managing intellectual property rights (IPR) is the first step for any business seeking to establish its presence in India, and must be incorporated as an integral part of the business asset growth strategy.

Having a distinguished intellectual property can set your business apart from competitors, and become an essential part of your marketing. An intellectual property can also be sold or licensed to generate revenues for you or your business.

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India Regulatory Brief: GST Schedule for Goods and Services, RBI Removes Restrictions for Bank Branches

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Final GST schedule released for goods and services

The GST Council, which is the federal agency regulating the new indirect tax structure in India – the Goods and Services Tax (GST) – published a detailed list of tax rates late last week.

The final GST schedule aligns 1,211 goods in six separate categories; barring the exemption list, there are five slabs of taxation. These fall under 5 percent, 12 percent, 18 percent, 28 percent, and 28 percent plus cess. For services, the tax structure is similar. Further, all e-commerce vendors will be liable to pay one percent tax collected at source under the GST regime.

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A Guide to Franchising in India

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By Bradley Dunseith

India offers enormous potential for foreign franchisors who tailor their brand to fit into the country’s dynamic consumer market. India’s huge market has created a space for competitive franchises to thrive while rising incomes have enlarged the demand for foreign brands.  

To succeed in the Indian market, franchisors will need a robust understanding of the country’s regulatory structure due to the absence of comprehensive franchise-centric legislation.

In this article, we explain the entry strategies for foreign franchises interested in establishing an Indian presence. We then highlight the legal precautions necessary for such companies to secure their position in the Indian market.

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India Regulatory Brief: Online Portal for Filing Tax Returns, RERA in Effect since May 1

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Tax department launches online filing of tax returns

Filing tax returns online will be the norm in India for the Assessment Year (AY) 2017-18 onwards as the Income Tax department launched its e-filing portal in May. This online portal facility can be accessed for filing all categories of Income Tax Returns (ITRs). This year, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) launched all the seven ITR forms for AY 2017-18 on March 31. Income tax returns need to be filed by July 31 every year.

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The New Benami Act – Considerations for NRIs and Foreign Investors

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By Bradley Dunseith

In Prime Minister Modi’s war against ‘black money’ the Indian government is attempting to tighten up a real estate strategy for tax evasion: Benami properties. 

Benami means ‘anonymous’ or ‘without name’ in Hindi. A Benami property refers to property bought in the name of a secondary person so as to conceal the identity of the real buyer. Individuals generally purchase Benami properties in the name of relatives to conceal the extent of their wealth from the government. Real estate developers, on the other hand, buy Benami properties to sidestep stringent land ceilings – using proxy companies to make the actual purchase.

The new Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 ups the maximum punishment for owning Benami properties from the former three years of jail time to the current five years of jail time and a fine. The new Act further allows authorities to permanently confiscate Benami properties without compensation to the former owner.

The federal government of India has reported that 140 cases have already been filed where Benami assets are worth more than US$31 million (Rs 200 crore).

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